Stocks Maintain Gains by Midday

Magna, Suncor in Focus

Equities in Toronto continued positive by noon, as consumer and energy stocks showed the way

The S&P/TSX Composite Index retained 51.22 points worth of gains to greet noon at 16,628.50

The Canadian dollar docked 0.43 cents at 74.50 cents U.S.

Magna International was among a host of consumer discretionary stocks in the green, gaining 27 cents to $75.26, while Canadian Tire sprinted $1.56, or 1%, to $150.70.

Energy stocks gushed, with Suncor gaining 42 cents to $45.77, and Canadian Natural Resources took on 46 cents, or 1.1%, to $41.95.

Among communications stocks, Rogers dipped 57 cents to $65.74, and BCE dropped a nickel to $60.01.

Health-care stocks also saw some profit-taking, especially among issues like Aurora Cannabis, which gave up 20 cents, or 1.6%, to $12.12.

On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported that wholesale trade in this country increased 0.3% to $63.7 billion in February, the third consecutive monthly gain.

Higher sales were recorded in two of seven sub-sectors, led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories sub-sector. Excluding this sub-sector, wholesale sales declined 1.5%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 3.02 points to 607.53

Seven of the 12 Toronto subgroups gained by midday, with consumer discretionary stocks better 1.3%, energy up 1.1%, and information technology improved 0.4%.

The five losing subgroups were weighed most by communications, sliding 0.6%, health-care, down 0.2%, and gold, off 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 headed for a record close on Tuesday as Wall Street cheered stronger-than-expected quarterly profits from some of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hiked 144.67 points to 26,655.72

The S&P 500 gained 23.36 points to 2,931.33, above an all-time closing high of 2,930.75 set in Sept. 20. It was still below its intraday record of 2,940.91.

The NASDAQ Composite jumped 91.03 points, or 1.1%, to 8,106.30

Dow members Coca-Cola gained 1.7%, and United Technologies added 2.5%, both having reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday.

Twitter shares jumped 16.3% on its stronger-than-expected results. The social media company said its monthly active users totaled 330 million, more than a FactSet estimate of 318 million.

Lockheed Martin also rallied more than 6% after its earnings easily topped expectations. The company reported strong operating margins across all its major businesses, which include aeronautics and missiles.

Procter & Gamble also posted stronger-than-forecast earnings, but its stock traded down 2.4%. Texas Instruments, eBay and Stryker are set to release their latest quarterly results after market close.

This is the busiest week of the corporate earnings season. Once the dust settles, more than 140 S&P 500 companies will have released their calendar first-quarter results.

So far, the results have largely topped expectations. More than 78% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have surpassed analyst expectations

On the data front, new home sales data was scheduled for release this morning.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury were higher, weighing yields to 2.57% from Monday’s 2.59%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 88 cents to $66.43 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slumped six dollars to $1,271.60 U.S. an ounce.